Juggling life through a bi-polar lens. Sometimes up, sometimes down. Mostly trying to tread water in the middle. Creating a likeness to a normal life. Whatever "normal" is...

Thursday, 29 December 2011


Ooops I'm a day late with this! Sorry! LOL!

52/4, week 3

Lost for Words
by John Humphreys

"The possibility that Alastair regards the media as disinterested - meaning dispassionate, without any axe to grind- is about as great as Tony Blair being the secret love child of John Prescott and Margaret Thatcher."


As before, if you'd like to join in here's how-

  • Pick any book,
  • go to page 52
  • give us the sentence that contains line 4.

Leave your results in the comments. Or, if you want to put it as a post on your own blog, just leave us a link to find it there!

Saturday, 24 December 2011

A Christmas Dream

This is the dream Luvbug had the other night...

 Scooter and Fluffy, Summer 2010

He dreamed that I was giving Scooter his medicine. I had it in my hand and he was just licking it up, no trouble. Then, Fluffy walked towards us to have a look and I said,

"It's OK, Fluffy. You don't need these any more!"

And she faded away.

*** *** ***

It was her anniversary on the 13th. She has a little candle by her box of ashes, an angel, and a little box, decorated with cat pictures, containing her last collar and a clipping of her hair. This is all on the side near my chair, with Christmas cards around. She loved Christmas, the sparkle and twinkles fascinated her. She would lie belly-up under the tree looking up through it at all the glittering lights. I miss her, but I'm glad she isn't hurting any more. It wouldn't be Christmas if my friend were hurting.

Scooter now has 4 cardboard boxes scattered around the floor. Various deliveries have provided him with this choice. If I try to clear one up he wants that one :)

*** *** ***

Have a purrfectly happy Christmas, everyone!

Friday, 23 December 2011

Christmas preparations

Decided the oven needed cleaning. It keeps smoking, you see. Not meant to do that.

So I excavated the can of 'Mr Muscle' from the back of the cupboard, where I'd left it when I had first had the idea to clean it, oh, 4 months ago-?? and sprayed the stuff liberally all over the inside of the oven. Despite covering my nose and mouth, this sent me into an instant asthmary wheeze. Yuck! Some coughing and a few puffs on my inhaler later, I wondered, "Should I clean the roof of the oven , too?" I had a look and discovered that the whole of the roof slides out for cleaning. Oh. Never knew that. Gosh, that's a surprise after 7 years isn't it. So sprayed that too.

Then you have to leave the foam to eat all the bleagh gunk for up to 2 hours so I went and had a sit down and fell asleep.

Some time later......

I went to the kitchen for some tea and almost shrieked- in front of my oven, a large gloopy dark puddle was spreading into the room like a scene from CSI. Ohhhhhhh buggggggggggger.

Old cloths, newspaper, water and kitchen roll..... but hey this is worth it for a spotless oven for the Christmas roast, yes? Once the gloop and bubbles were removed I expected to see pristine metal but instead I've had to apply the rest of the can and have a second go. Not sure how I get to rinse all this off. We could be having salad for lunch on Sunday at this rate!

Regarding the Christmas food shopping, we thought we'd leave it till late, as a late night trip would avoid the crowds. SO we went to Tesco at 10.25 last night.

Going late was such a great idea that it had occurred to HALF OF COLCHESTER. We were back at midnight.

Just me, Luvbug, Mum and Scooter this year. But I hope to make it special with the trimmings and special touches..... how are your preparations going?

Wednesday, 21 December 2011


Scroll down to the previous post for full details on how to play this, but BASICALLY you go to page 52 of any book and then line 4. Give us the title, author, and the line that included line 4.

Here's mine!

52/4, week 2

The Cat Who Came In From The Cold
by Deric Longden

"I examined his undercarriage very closely as he padded over my face and then the leaves shook as he landed on the soft earth."

To tell us yours-
I WAS going to put in a 'Mr Linky' chart but couldn't get it to work!!!
INSTEAD, if you want to join in, just leave your entry in the comments. If you do put it on your blog instead or as well, you're of course welcome to leave your link!

Saturday, 17 December 2011

Time for some fun around here!

Time for something lighter around here! -So I am proposing a new weekly 'meme'.

I am going to call it 52/4

What you do (and I hope some of you will have time to join in) is this-

Take a book, any book. It can be fiction or factual. One you are currently reading, or off your shelf, doesn't matter. (Kids books are definitely allowed, too. I wonder if Bob would like to join in with one of his Paddington Bear books....)

  • Turn to page 52.
  • Go to line 4.
  • Tell us the sentence that includes line 4. In other words, if it is incomplete you are allowed to go back to the beginning of the sentence or go on a few lines to end it. But give us THE SENTENCE THAT INCLUDES LINE 4.
  • Always include full name of book and author. (Do we also need an edition number? A publication year? What do you think??)
  • You don't have to scan in a pic of the cover, it's up to you. My scanner is out of action so I have taken the photo from Amazon. Not sure if that's allowed, but as it's basically advertising for them, I'm not sure they would mind!

I must stress this is not my original idea entirely- there was a blog or a website doing this a few years ago, though I can't remember what page or line number. If you know of that site, do let me know, so I can give credit, & if necessary ask permission, too! Meanwhile, I always thought it was a great idea so let's go.

Here is my first entry. I shall put one up on Wednesdays from now on. I'll do a 'Mr Linky' so you can join in and leave a link easily, if you want.

*** *** ***

52/4, week 1

(Currently reading)
A Small Weeping
by Alex Gray

"Then he was gone, the pretty table and the candlelight forgotten as he closed the front door behind him."

Let me know what you think!!!

Wednesday, 14 December 2011

Time does help, doesn't it?

It wasn't till late Monday that I started to feel a bit more relaxed, but I still haven't had a night's sleep. This is mainly because of guilt, and things going over and over, conversations going through my head. Then my head runs away with itself in imaginary conversations, doing the whole day how I'd have liked it to have been done. Before I know it two hours of these scenes have played across my mind.

Thank you for lovely support. It does make a huge difference.

*** *** ***

Years ago, 1999, I was bullied so much at my last paid job that I took two weeks' off work with depression. I never went back because facing going back just made it worse, and I had had 9 months of it. I knew going back would be harder. So I was signed off sick.

I made an official complaint about the bullying and they investigated it and said that it hadn't happened. I was given a copy of the report and was stunned by the 'witness statements'. Ihad not expected colleagues to stick up for me, but neither had I expected them to INVENT stories, things that hadn't happened, utter lies. I was so shocked. Naive, I suppose.

The only person who had planned to stick up for me had been retired early and so wasn't questioned.

I appealed and lost.

Why am I writing about this? Well, last weekend brought it all back.

What came back in vivid technicolour is the sense of loss of self- in other words I no longer knew if I was ok as a person- I asked myself, "Is this me, in these descriptions? Am I this terrible person? Am I one of those people who just can't see how awful they are?" It's a dizzying experience.

Well I have been back there.

Today less so. Time is smoothing down the edges of guilt's claws, and tempering my ancient, post-Catholic duty of 'self examination'.

*** *** ***

No answer to the email I sent after the events. But they went on holiday Tuesday, so I don't think they had time to read it, and even if they had checked their email before leaving, it was a very long one.

Luvbug and I sent them flowers, delivered Monday. We spent time to carefully word the card so that I was not grovelling and wallowing in saying sorry as I feel strongly that I was provoked. There was right and wrong on both sides I guess. But we said something like, please know I would not have wanted the evening to end that way. Then we wished them a happy new year and a safe and happy holiday (they went to Mexico).

A text came from my brother Monday afternoon saying thank you for the beautiful flowers; we'll straughten things out in the new year. A huge weight went off me then, I think because the ball is left in their court. There is no need for it to hang over us at Christmas.

I can't help but feel relieved though, that they are away for a fortnight and so will be 1000's of miles away at Christmas so I don't have to worry about that other, big, sometimes fraught day!

*** *** ***

My old school friend, Jo, came up on Monday and we toured the shops. Luvbug gave me generous funds for a girlie lunch. She cheered me up no end.

*** *** ***

Monday night and Tuesday I have had to take my level-outer pills as I have felt myself going *UP* too far and too rapidly.

In bi-polar there can be the misperception that when you have an up it is all great and enjoyable! But really it means talking too fast, thinking too fast, doing 10 things at once, can't sit still, and then eventually headaches and eye pain and if you're not careful, hallucinations.

So much as I would like to coast along on the wave (as I do sometimes just because the extra energy means I can so much more done!) I have taken my trifluoperazine like a good girl. Mind you, it is now 1 a.m. and I am not in bed. Oops!

*** *** ***

Up early tomorrow; to mum's by 8 as she has a washing machine delivery. Can they give a better ETA? No, just some time between 6 and 10. (6????????? Does anyone really THINK of washing machines at 6???)

Can't believe Christmas is so close. Hadn't realised that school, and therefore Luvbug's work days, comes to an end this Friday. Stroof!!! Where has the last 1/4 of this year gone???? Strange how the passing of time is sometimes helpful, and other times so fast it is scary.

*** *** ***

Hope you're not all under winter colds and bugs out there. The weather has definitely gone wintry at last.... Bob The Bear has received an amazing sleigh in the post, which he'll blog about later. Now he looks out the window for snow every day :)

Sunday, 11 December 2011


So I went to the wedding. I'd had about 3 hours sleep but I washed, dressed in my new clothes, fixed my hair and put on the make-up that I'd bought the day before. A big part of me had wanted to go and for it to all be wonderful, meaning that I'd spent a lot on clothes and shoes and new bag, haircut and make-up and even had had my eyebrows threaded- which had been excrutiating! So I had tried to get myself in the right mindset, you see. I HAD 'made an effort'. I stress this because it is the cause of the blazing row that started at the reception-

I went over to talk to my brother. We had all eaten the dinner and were waiting for dessert. A general hubbub and interlude. I went over to talk to my brother but the bride started talking to me right away instead.

Earlier at the church, I hadn't been able to face the service- as I had predicted. I did text my brother the night before and warn him that an hour long service might be too much for me. I wanted to forewarn him in case he turned round in the service, saw I wasn't there and wondered why.

Well according to the bride this text hugely upset my brother as did my not staying for the service. -I did NOT walk out of the service. I left before it began. I did this because it was an old church with old, boxed in pews, so the only exit was down the main aisle. Not good for quick, or subtle exits. SO I explained to mum and Luvbug, and sneaked out. Unfortunately it was just as the bride's party were hanging around at the door. My brother later told me that she had accused me of giving her a filthy look as I left, but I certainly did not!

I really don't think that they would have noticed me not being there if she hadn't seen me leave. THere were so many of their friends there.

But what the bride said to me during reception was that it didn't matter whether I was ill, or couldn't stand church services because of things in my past, or that I felt I was havign a panic attack, or that my depression had been particularly bad that week - all explanations I tried to give her whilst she was ticking me off for not supporting my brother- no, it didn't matter how bad I felt or why, "It's your brother's day, not yours, you see? You understand? It's his day." this is what she kept telling me. And it didn't matter how bad I felt or what reasons I had. Because HER sisters would have overcome it and put him first, she said.

NExt to my clothes. I explained that I had had to wear black trousers in the end- I made a joke of it- as it was hard to find anything this time of year as the shops only sold Chrismassy things. "That's ok, to wear something Christmassy, it's meant to be a celebration, Helen, not a funeral." was the reply. Poor mum, in black and navy. No one took the troubel tell her how nice she looked.

Well after all I'd been through- the fact that I HAD gone to the wedding to do precisely what I was being accused of not doing- to support my brother- something in me snapped. I went back to my table, pick up my things, told Luvbug, I can't stay, not after that, and went to the car....

That would have been enough, but although Luvbug came with me, Mum didn't, so I went back in to explain and to get her... Luvbug begged me not to go back in, but I was so fuming and maybe 2 1/2 glasses of wine hadn't helped (oh dear).

Well mum had gone over to say goodbye to the bride. God alone knows what she said to mum. Mum said she didn't hear half of it.

David was chatting to his friends and working his way to the door where Luvbug and I were waiting. Once he got there, we thought he was going to say something like, "oh dear, that didn't go well did it? Are you going early then?" but no, he started to say that this was HIS day and that I should put him first and I hadn't behaved properly and blah blah blah. SOmething in me was so mad! I told him how low and depressed I'd been, how we'd really tried to get to the wedding, how we had had to come to get mum there- even though she was mostly ignored by them when there!

-Here is how mum was treated-
we seated her in the second pew, behind where the bride and groom, and her beloved grandchildren, were to sit. They moved her back to another pew, further away, and put their witnesses, friends, in that place. SO in the wait for the bride's party it was to these friends that my brother chatted, not mum.

-no buttonhole! I asked if there was a buttonhole for mum, as a few people were wearing a red rose. No, he said. He told mum that as they cost £12 each he didn't get many. So just him, his boys and... the ushers! The ushers got a flower but not the mother of the groom!

-next mum fell went getting out of the box pew. I was in the Ladies' loo at the time, when I came back there was just her and luvbug at the top of the church. They explained what had happened. Had my brother known? Yes, he did. Was he there? No. Luvbug took care of her, though.

-Mum, Luvbug and I waited at the top of the church a bit late while they had official photo's taken. Mum was waiting to be called. But they never called her. All packed up and finished, they let. Mum was so upset. I went after them and asked my brother, what about a photo with mum? -She is upset, she wanted to be in a photo! His reply was something like, "Oh I suppose so, yeah maybe we should, I'll get the photographers...."

We were the only people from this side of the family there, we knew no one else. SO it was particularly difficult. We'd hope my Aunt Pat and 2 cousins would be there, we would all have enjoyed meeting up again. But my brother had invited my aunt and not my cousins, so the invitation was turned down- my cousins felt hurt and besides, my aunt and uncle unable to drive a long way, the cousins were needed to get them there!

Oh well.... back to the door of the hotel- my brother and I got into a shouting match only some of which I remember, but I do remember him shouting in my face that I have always treated him like shit.
WHAT the?? HOW???
Back to how this was HIS day....

There is more, a lot more, but the bottom line is that I felt that the bride had no business pulling me up at that moment anyway, and certainly could not judge me, as she didn't know how hard things were. All she would say to my explanations is that it didn't matter and that I should put my brother first. She went on to say I had not said congratulations to them and blah blah.... not that they had come over to the three of us, leaving us on our own, and not even thinking to include us in the photo's until I chased after them! We had brought cards and gifts.....not congratulations enough....

'Are you glad we're married, because you haven't said so!' she said. This put me as piggy in the middle as I knew that my brother had told me, when Steph had booked the date, that he would rather spend the money on getting a decent car that didn't keep breaking down. As far as we knew, this was her big idea, not his. So hard to congratulate him really, when we felt more sympathy for him...

Well the shouting went on right up to the front door of the hotel and till I got into the car, telling him that my family had treated ME like shit since I was 2 and not any more because they were all dead.


Today I woke up and thought it had all been a nightmare.
I wish it had been.
I am shocked how it all escalated from the bride's words to a blazing row.
But telling me that I had to think of others touched a very, very raw nerve.

Next time when facing things I know I can't do, I shall listen to my gut, to my mental health, to my friends out there, and say no, I'm putting myself first this time and I'm not going....

I sent a long email to them this morning giving my side of what happened and how things escalalted etc. Luvbug went over it with me to make sure I wasn't emotive or angry in it.... I doubt it will be read but hey ho. I wish the whole day had not happened in a week when I have been worse than ever. At a better time who knows, I may have been able to pull it off. I feel a total failure that I didn't, a fool, embarrassed as guests must have heard us, I feel bad that mum had to leave early because of it all, I feel wretched about not being able to be normal, and confused as to whether to hate all of me or just my bloody head... suicide was breathly a suitable solution today, but a sleep and a hug from Luvbug, I am now bruised and battered, but ok to go out to the Xmas fair with mum in town..... I feel I have been hit by a truck....

I would love to hear your opinion good or bad, I need other perspectives maybe, I need to know I'm not the biggest shit around- or am I? the worst sister? I am utterly amazed that Luvbug still loves me today.

Saturday, 10 December 2011

The Worst Week

I've no idea why this last week has been my worst in a long long time.

I feel at best crabby, snappy, impatient and tearful, and at worst I feel like I'm having a breakdown: spinning thoughts, uncontrollable thoughts going places I don't want them to go, little sleep and what there is is filled with surreal dreams. It feels like my head is full of barbed wire. Cutting myself again the other day, a way to stop the traffic in my head.

Upped my back up pills from 2mg a day to 3 or 4, only to discover too late that the pharmacist gave me two weeks' worth instead of a month, so now I am down to 2 pills left... and my brother's wedding tomorrow.

I hate being in rooms full of people I don't know. I can't handle it. And the idea of being in a church again makes me feel physically sick. Tonight he told me the service will be about an hour-??? I asked if there were emergency exits down each side!

I don't want to go. My head is hellish. I am an inch away from a panic attack. And I STILL have to take care of mum. Today I was in town with her early again trying to get her something to wear for tomorrow. Finally she bought a black skirt, then fretted about the price for hours. Then I finished taking up the sleeves of her jacket...

Tried to approach the subject of me not going. Luvbug told me that if I can't face it, if it will push my head too far, to not worry as he will take mum and look after her there.

Well she is having none of it. I have to go to support my brother, you see. Like I always must. I must support my elder siblings, my younger brother... I am left asking myself, what about ME? When does what I need count? Stuff how bad I feel, I have to support my brother whose promise of inviting my mum up for a weekend each month to give us a break has amounted to three weekends in 21 months

Now I'm just rambling, I know. But there is no one to talk to. Even the emergency line at the therapy place I go to is engaged!

Bottom line- I am here to support my eldest brother, despite the abuse he put me through when I was little- I am also here to support my second eldest as he goes through his second wedding, even though I feel like I'm falling apart- I am to support my little brother, the one in Mexico, and glean info from him from his tiny emails for mum because she worries and he can't be arsed to call her or write to her- and according to mum, I am also here to cook Kevin's meals (the shock horror on her face when I give her a meal and there is nothing for Kevin because we will eat later. Where's Kevin's? or the time she was halfway to the kitchen and said -'Oh! I was going to make Kevin a cup of tea, but that's your job really isn't it?')

That's it, my role. Support everyone else around me and just accept that they either don't give a flying monkey's that I'm ill or-more likely- they simply don't believe that I am. Luvbug the exception to the rule of course, but to the others it is 'oh' get on with it'.

Will I go to the wedding? More than likely. After all, at 44 who am I to have a choice. This is why my head is full of barbed wire. It is being crushed, shrunk. I am screaming out for a break and no one can hear me.

Thank goodness for Scooter. My fur confidante. I feel I have no one in the world. I have lived here 8 years and made no friends. I am shrinking inside.

Can't believe how much i have cried this week. Or how fragile I've been.

Tried to explain to mum gentle why I might not go tomorrow. She said, I need to go to support my brother, and she is looking forward to standing next to me there.

Do you know, we didn't even get an invite? They gave one to mum and added 'plus Helena and Kevin'. Or  'plus carer and driver'.

It wouldn't be fair for Luvbug to take her on his own and face all those strangers. I know he means it when he offers, but it is too much to ask.

If I don't go no one will accept why. Since my first major depression at 13, and my first suicide attempt-induced coma at 14, well, it's all just for attention isn't it, is what they think. Mum even said it to me when I got out of hospital that time. How ironic that I'm the one left with her care now.

I have junk on tv, chocolate and my cat. I'll doze off eventually I guess....

Saturday, 3 December 2011


My elder brother gets married next Saturday. It's his second marriage. They've been together about 15 years and have two kids. Now, after suddenly becoming a Christian, his former atheist 'you're an idiot to believe in anything' partner wants a wedding. And so it's booked for 10th December.

I avoid get togethers like the plague. The last party I went to was a schoolfriend's 14th. The last wedding I went to was my brother's first one, 20 years ago. I left after the photo's. You can keep speeches, small talk with strangers, lukewarm food and loud music that no one would normally stay in the same room with.

But this time there is no getting out of it. Or as Mum so succinctly put it- "Well, they're expecting you up there, and I'm going, so you've got to take me." Well that's told me, then, hasn't it? Nothing like being 44 and under your mother's orders.

And it started about 6 weeks ago- the trial of trying to get mum something to wear. She wants to go shopping for clothes at least three times a week. No matter how slowly I walk for her, she slopes along three steps behind me. I try to keep my chin up and smile. Like today; "OK, what sort of top would you like?"
"Don't know."
She already has a nice navy blue jacket. The sleeves are too long and so I'm half way through putting these up for her, not fast enough apparently as she asks if I have done it yet at least twice a day.

So now we need trousers or skirt. I will need to put these up, too, as even 'petite' ranges don't cater for people UNDER 5'2".

Ever tried to find a short, straight navy skirt in the run up to Christmas? There aren't any. Anything with just the main colour being navy? You know, a pattern, whatever, doesn't matter? No. Everything not snazzy enough for a Christmas party has gone into storage and store assistants look up begrudgingly from conversation, mobile phone texts and magazines to tell me "Oh, well, if we did have that it would be out on the rail."

Occasionally over the last month and a half I have found items of clothing that would work. Usually mum just screw her nose up at them and walks off, or makes a sarcastic comment, or laugh derisively as though to say, "you like THAT? Oh my God! What's WRONG with you?"

It would be easier if she actually looked. But I look, she just wanders behind me. Then stands there, like a reluctant child in the summer holidays, being forced to shop for school uniform. But it is HER idea to come into town and look. Then once there it's all onto me.

Well today I had ENOUGH. 

Let's concentrate on a top today, shall we?
So what kind of top do you want?
Don't know (shrugs, screws up nose)
I think white, cream or blue would go with your jacket.
Yes but what else? Do I get trousers or do I get a skirt?
(we have already had this conversation 50 million times but never mind)
Well let's concentrate on a top first. This shop has both, though, so we can keep an eye out.
(Then I find a white shirt, long sleeve- previous short sleeved selections have not past the wrinkled nose test. This shirt has a slim pin stripe in it, and in the stripes are flowers. Nice. Smart. Warm. Feminine.)
Ooo how about this?- I say, bringing her the shirt.
-She pulls a face.
Well, it's smart enough. Nice material. Will go. And you could wear it other places afterwards...?
-Screws up face, derisive laugh.
-Then she picks up a long sleeve T shirt. Big blue swirly flower pattern. Yeah, why not?
Yes, that's nice.
-I like that.
Yes, ok. Why not try that one on?
Want to bring the shirt as well?
-Screws up face.
OK, we'll leave that.
Go to try on top.
Look at other selections on the way, no short skirts.
Get to changing rooms. Mum has a go at the assistant, saying that there are no skirts. Assistant reels off a list of other shops we should try, which we have already tried. I tell her this, and she doesn't believe me. She particularly doesn't believe that M&S have nothing suitable. The last thing I need is shop staff telling me to look harder.

Mum tries on the top and calls me.
-"It's too low at the front."
(It isn't.) Erm, no, no it isn't. But you could always wear your silky blue scarf around your neck if you fel cold."
--"No it's too low. You can see my vest."
Well leave it off for one day."
-Screws up nose.Then agrees, as she likes the pattern and the material.
On the way out of the changing area the assistant asks, "OK?"
"Yes," I beam. "We have success!"
Then mum appears, and thrusts the top into the assistant who stares at her, confused.
-"It's too low. You can see me vest."
"Uhm, what if you wore a light scarf with it, ma'am?"
-"No. I need it higher. And buttons. A few buttons up the top ."
"Shall I go and get that shirt, then?"
-"No, not today. Let's go home. We can come back tomorrow."

One of 3 left before Xmas weekend.
And we both hate crowds.
Oh what fun.

I text my brother, telling him of yet another fruitless afternoon shopping for Mum to get something for his bloody wedding. I am already cross with him because his promise to "take mum off your hands for one weekend a month" didn't come through for November, and won't for December either. Next chance I get of a day to myself is mid January. I tell him she might come to the wedding in jeans. He texts back that jeans are ok, so long as she has a matching hat.


Monday, 21 November 2011

Hic !!!!

By far the very BEST thing about drinking just a little too much brandy is the warm toe effect. How much have I drunk? Em, let's just say I have exTREMEly warm toes.



well as I'm sitting here...er, sloping here... I thought I'd FINALLY load up pictures of some cards I produced in the summer. I was so busy I never got around to doing this...sorry!

Here is the card I made for Luvbug this year. His birthday was months ago but he still has this card on display!!!

Here is one I made for Jo, my friend from school. I love this stamped image; two wee girls killing time together, just like we used to!

Lastly, Luvbug's sister had a big birthday this year ( I shan't say how big) and this is the card we sent. Luvbug isn't a fan of decoupage. I find it soooo relaxing to do though, and so long as you fancy it up a wee bit it can still be artistic, IMHO. I did a crohet border on this one, which took a TINY crochet needle, so thin you could use it as a bookmark!!! Boy, I must have been feeling extra patient!:

Ah well Scooter has woken up for his midnight (ish) snack. I think I'll give him some of the pork we had left over from Sunday lunch. HE LOVES pork. But have you ever seen it as a flavour of cat food? -Never! This is quite worrying- first, it means they aren't providing a flavour that cats apparently love, and second, it may mean that the reason is cos they use EVERY part of the porker for US! Now THERE'S a sobering thought if ever I needed one!

Wednesday, 16 November 2011

Shhhh....what was that??

Thank you all for the lovely birthday messages and Ecards !!  :)

In the end we stayed in and ordered a Thai takeaway. It was quite good and came with a free bottle of wine. It was nice treat.
Back on a diet now. My brother's wedding is on 10th December. I don't want to be the fattest relative in the photo ;)

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** 

Haven't been taking my back-up pills for a few weeks now. Feeling I can cope fine without them, but I may need to take them for a while for another reason- I'm hearing stuff again.

What I'm hearing is fairly ordinary stuff. In a way this makes it more difficult- if you're hearing weirdy spooky voices and whispers or lions roaring under your bed, you can just tell yourself 'No way was that real!' and tell it to shut the F*** up. But it isn't that easy if what you're hearing is cats meowing- when Scooter is fast asleep; or Luvbug coming home from work in the middle of the day, like I heard him do today, except when I went to greet him he wasn't there.

Over the last week I have heard cats coming in and out of the catflap while Scoot is asleep next to me (we've checked; no strays coming in). I've heard a cat meowing downstairs while I've been upstairs in the bath, but Scooter is asleep down there and Luvbug is with him.  I've heard chairs being moved, dragged across the kitchen floor, yet they remain in their original spot. I've heard the oven on, then gone to investigate, thinking that I must have forgotten I was cooking something... but no, when I get there the noise of the fan stops. I've heard kitchen utensils moving and cupboards being closed, and invisible mail noisily comes through the letterbox.

It's all normal stuff so I have to go and investigate, make sure. If it were ghouls I could just tell them they don't exist, and so f*** outta here will ya, and all from the comfort of my chair or bed! Trust me to get the hallucinations that make 'sense'. Bleagh.

Getting on my nerves now, like a noisy neighbour. So, I took one of my back-up little blue pills tonight.

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Everything else is fine-
Scooter's great, Mum's doing better than in ages, and Luvbug may have work booked right up to the end of term :)   -funny how bad things come all at once, and then you seem to get a break everywhere at the same time too!

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I'm trying to design a lino cut to make my Christmas cards from this year. Coming up with the design is harder than I ever imagined it would be! If I have your address you'll be on the list to get one um, eventually! If you've moved since last Xmas let me know your new address!
-Are any of you out there getting organised card-wise?

Tuesday, 8 November 2011


It's extrememly hard to have a happy birthday when those around you are so intent on being bloody miserable and bad tempered.

Sod them!

I had a lovely E-card from Feronia that really cheered me!
I had a nice 'birthday lunch' with Caroline, an old school friend, in September.
Then I met up last month with Andrea and Beanie in London. We had a nice 'birthday lunch'  and went shopping at a great art shop.
My little nephews have sent me a funny card, which made me smile.....

I was going out for a meal with Luvbug tonight but I've told him not to bother booking anything. What's the point?

To be happy when all around you is misery and grump and criticism is very tiring. Stuff it. I'll have a long hot bath full of bubbles, a good book, and a sip of brandy. Then a nap on my own. And later, some time with Scooter. I didn't think he would still me with me today, I really didn't think he'd make it. He is my best birthday present of all and I love him.

Here he is this morning, helping me open some presents. He loves the sound of sitting on wrapping paper!

Wednesday, 2 November 2011

Horray for poo!

Scooter did a normal poo! Horrayyy!!!!!!!!!! Well done, Scoob! (lol)

Sunday, 30 October 2011

Phew! OK to fight another day

Phew! Well the vet wasn't too panicked by Scooter's bloody poo. She said that it could be quite common for dogs and cats to have this if they have had a bad tummy upset, and he is really in the 'looks like coloured water' category lately, so that's a BIG upset. It might be that after so many kinds of medicine lately, he might have some ulceration inside :(

ALSO discovered that I might not have helped- as getting his tablets down him has been so difficult, I've been grinding them up and hiding them altogether in a bit of mushy food, then syringing this into his mouth. I just asked the vet if it was ok to give them altogether like this, and she said that there was one that I SHOULDN'T BE GRINDING UP at all. The one he has for his thyroid has a protective coating and needs to be digested slowly...... oh dear. I'm sorry, Scoob! He hadn't taken it for days and I was desperate to get it inside him. It's from that day that he's had the runny poos.


Yesterday we had another day of him not eating much. But he did enjoy more time in the sun. Me and Luvbug sneaked out to a charity book fair, where, after a few hours, we amassed 3 carrier bags' full of books. When we got back, Scooter was on a garden chair and when Luvbug went out to say hello, Scooter stepped up and put his front paws on the table and stretched up to greet him. Awww he really does love his lapdaddy!

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This weekend Mum has gone to my brother's. Insert cheer here. It was touch and go as he said he might not make it cos his car was in the garage again. He did have a hired car, so I didn't really get why he couldn't commit. Hmmm. Mum was disappointed and said, "It's a break for me, you see." I had to bite my tongue and try not to laugh- a break for HER?!!! LOL! Well at least I'm glad she sees it this way. I'd hate for her to think she's being dumped somewhere against her will and then sitting there missing us.
*** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***

More fish is on the hob for Scoob. He has had a nibble at his dry food today for the first time in over a week and a half. That's a good sign (touch wood now!)

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This time last week I was on my way to London to meet Andrea of Found Art fame. I should have blogged about this sooner! I forgot my camera :(
We went to a huge art shop, where I bought some stuff to do lino cutting. I'd like my Xmas card this year to be a lino print. Then we had a lovely lunch and a ride on the top of a London bus, seeing lots of the famous places. Andrea gave me an early birthday present. She had gone all the way to Harrods to find them- genuine little macarroons from Paris. WOW! Thanks again for these, and for a great day, Andrea!

Ooo yum. Sorry the photo doesn't show them all, but as Mama Bear can testify, some choccies move faster than the speed of camera.

You can read more about our day at Beanie's blog here.

Thank you all, again, for your kind messages of support and care.

Friday, 28 October 2011

Crossing fingers...

Here I am again with another update on my furball.

He had a great day yesterday! He ate well, took his meds, and the snorting and cataarh seems to have almost gone completely- he has his normal purr back and even his normal sounding meow has returned.

We had to nip out in the afternoon to take Mum for a check up. I gave him a hot water bottle and left him dozing, but we all forgot that it would get dark by the time we were back, and forgot to leave a light on for him. Well, when we came in he sat up on his desk and meowed us a good telling off!

In the evening he jumped up to sit next to Luvbug lots of times, like he used to a while ago.

Last night I went to bed calm and happy for the first time in ages! I didn't feel it necessary to stay up with him or try to sleep on the sofa.

This morning, though, he suddenly looked very thin. He has always been a big fella. I remember one vet saying, as Scoot got out of his basket years ago, "Gosh, he's a big brute, isn't he?!" It is strange to see his tummy tuck well in behind his hips, to feel his spine and even a hint of rib when I stroke him. How can you lose weight so quickly?

He was haunched up for a while, and I guessed it was tummy ache- he has had runny poos since Sunday ::(   I have been checking them to make sure there is no blood in them, and today for the first time there was.

So, it's to the vet again at 3.20 today.....

The passing of blood like this is associated with liver damage. It would be cruelly ironic if the meds have started to work but at the expense of his liver.

On the other hand, after nearly a week of runny poos maybe he could have something like piles! Not sure what they'll do today, maybe a blood test? I even scooped a little of the poo into a plastic box for the vet. OMG there is poo in my fridge!!!!

Well since that, he has eaten again. He has had steamed white fish and water. He and I sat on a blanket in the sun for a while, too. He loves the sunshine so much. His black fur gets warm so quickly!

I'm trying to think pragmatically, and tell myself that he had a good day yesterday and a sunbathe today, and both these things are unexpected blessings, and I'm so glad he has had these.

He is back on his chair, sleeping off his fish, curled up with the occasional little snore ;)

Please keep things crossed for us all................ and thanks so much for all your lovely messages, which are so helpful..........

Thursday, 27 October 2011


We've been so worried for Scooter as he hasn't been eating or drinking. Then yesterday he drank again, and took just a mouthful of food.

Today, he has had some special smelly mush from the vet (Hill's A/D)- about a quarter of the tin with his medicine hidden inside, and then Luvbug made him a fishy soup from tuna and warm water, which he lapped up. Scoot is now on 'his' chair, on top of a fluffy sheet and hot water bottle, sleeping it all off. He's quiet, no snorting, just the occasional snore :)

I took this just now-

I took these last night. He loves the fire but hasn't stretched out in front of it like this in a while;

 When he got too warm he came and lay near to me and let me just rest my hand on him:
Despite the weight he's lost, he's still a lovely big bear cub of a cat, isn't he?

So what did the vet say?

Basically we have two options-

1) send him to an animal hospital near Cambridge, about a 90 minute drive away.
There, they will be able to use MRI scans as well as xrays to see if he has anything untoward in the skull or neck, like a tumour or polyps. Whereas my own vet would be able to do xrays here in Colchester, he wouldn't be able to do any surgery like this; hence the long journey.

2)continue to treat the symptoms with anti-biotics, decongestant and painkillers, monitor things regularly and if it all gets too waring for Scooter, that is, if it seems to be wearing him out and making him depressed, we let him go...

If Scoot were 10 years younger I think I'd take him to the hospital and do whatever I could. But at 18 1/2, and having had 2 seizures that I know of, there is a risk he won't come out of the anaesthetic.

I could say goodbye, then hand him over for the trip to the hospital and hope that it isn't really goodbye. But then he gets to be stressed and scared, driven away with strangers, handled by strangers in strange rooms. If he doesn't come out of that alive, it's a horrible last few hours to have. Luvbug says Scooter looks for me if I'm out or even upstairs too long. And when I'm alone with him he looks for Luvbug and his Granny. So he might feel abandoned, scared and confused.

So, sadly, though I think it will be accepting an earlier end, we have opted for (2). I still get bouts of guity tears, thinking I'm not doing all I can though...

Now, every day is borrowed, and a blessing. We've all shed tears.
Just have to try not to think ahead. Just give him what he needs for now, this moment. Does his hot water bottle need refilling? Would he like a scrunch under the chin? Must try to think no further than this, and we'll get through the next week or two, more if we are very lucky.....

Thank all again for your messages here, emails and texts. It all helps me when I'm tying myself up in knots over things..........

Tuesday, 25 October 2011

Off to the vet's later..... doesn't look good....

Yesterday, Scooter was so sociable! He was going tap-tap-tap with his paw like he used to, tapping for attention or to tell us where exactly he'd like to be scrunched and tickled. When I hung out the washing, he had his head in the peg bag, investigating. Then he was pawing the washing and lying across my feet.

Later, he meowed through the open door, demanding someone come out and pay him due attention. I took a blanket out and stretched it on the grass in the sun. There, for nearly an hour, I was making a fuss of him, and he was stretching out on his side, purring and rolling over onto the back of his head.

Then he lay on the garden table. I sat with him, and he decided he wanted to be IN my cardigan the same time as me. He tugged at the fabric and then patted it down so he could sit on it. I was stuck for quite some time till I managed to get my arms out, making a little tent for us, at which point Luvbug took this photo of us.

Indoors, he jumped up onto the sofa next to Luvbug, something he used to do, but hasn't for ages. And in the evening he sat with mum.

He ate steamed white fish, wolfing it down and licking his chops, and took his medicine.

Now, what a difference a day makes...

This morning he is purring quietly. That snorting that had been a problem for weeks has gone. But he doesn't seem able to close his mouth, or maybe it is that he is breathing through it. One side of his nose is very runny, with gluey, blood-stained mucus. He won't eat or drink. And he has taken to sleeping in his litter tray, which he doesn't usually use; I have a clean one there 'just in case' for him, but he always prefers to go out to his patch in the garden. So strange that he is suddenly asleep in his tray.....

Vet appointment is 4.40pm. I just keep thinking how Fluffy took to sleeping in her tray near the end. And I can't tempt him to eat or drink.... I've got his medicine down him by grinding it down, adding it to some creamy food and squirting it into his mouth. It took him by surprise but then he sat there lipping his lips. I think he liked it in the end. It has helped a wee bit, maybe. But him being asleep in the tray is like a 'this is it' sign to me...... any thoughts from the cat people out there??

Meanwhile I have to pull myself together as I have an appointment with an ENT consultant myself this afternoon, about my hearing loss. It has taken months to get the appointment, otherwise I'd cancel it and stay with Scoot.

Saturday, 22 October 2011

October sun

Here is Scooter in the last of the summer sun. I sneaked this first photo through the kitchen window:  


A little later, snuggled back down on his desk and blankies in the conservatory:

A sudden shower with the sun still out led to this rainbow appearing over our garden:

I hope it isn't 'rainbow bridge'.

Back to the vet next week. I've been reading about nasopharyngeal polyps in cats.
The symptoms seem to fit quite well, especially the chronic sneezing at the beginning, which Scooter was doing a few months ago. The idea of some growth in his throat fits too- the noise he is almost constantly making is like he is trying to clear his throat of something. And he snores, too.

I'll mention this article to the vet when we see him. But with his age, and seizures, who knows if he would come through surgery? It's knocked me sideways, all this, simply cos I never thought of him as an old cat! He's so big! Just today it's hit me that I need to think of him as a little old man, not my cheeky little boy.

Please keep things crossed for him.

Friday, 21 October 2011

Holding on

Still here.
Thank you for your kind comments.

I stayed on the sofa last night. Managed to sleep a couple of hours. Made a fuss of Scooter, whose sinus problem was having a noisy stage. When Kevin got up for work I gave Scooter his morning meds in a piece of raw pork, then kissed K 'have a nice day' and headed for bed.

A little more sleep, check-in with mum on phone at 9am, then downstairs to check on Scooter who was........ sitting outside in the sun!

I kept an eye on him out there, and as the sun moved round so I put down blankies farther and farther down the garden to catch the warm rays. Eventually the roof of the house made it impossible to keep up. Eventually he retreated to indoors again.

Mum was up not long after 1. She has managed to get a bus here on her own for about 2 weeks now which is at once amazing and terrifying.

I cooked salmon for everyone. Scooter had a belly full.

I haven't eaten much this week, but I enjoyed my salmon pie and chips.

Still low. Cry when I think of Scooter not getting better.

Meeting up with Beanie on Sunday. Nervy but optimistic. Don't think I'm the best company at the mo.

I am saddest of all to see the summer go, especially when I see Scooter clinging to the last warm rays. He loves to lie in the sun. If only he were going into summer with this illness, not winter.

I can't think very much. I am worn out.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

V low :(

I've been sinking for a while, but bobbing up and down really, so not hitting the bottom.

These last few days it's almost undescribable but I'll try for you:

  • it's like when your computer goes into 'safe mode', shutting down everything but the essentials...
  • it's like being an origami shape that is now closing down inwards...
  • it's like grief, heart wrenching, head spinning, grief;  intermittent periods of blankness despersed with seeringly sharp heartbreak and buckets of tears.

Saw the GP today. Sending me for bloodtests to test hormone levels and thyroid.
Then saw the art therapist, who told me to ring the team there, any time, whether he's there or not.

The pills don't work, not even the back up ones, so they've been increased.
I bought some brandy. But that doesn't work either.
Don't worry I only got a small bottle. I know it's not the answer. Just wanted a break from my head.

 1am here. Off to bed I suppose. Check on Scooter..... he is holding his own but not vrey animated, eating, a little. It's harder and harder to get the pills into him. A part of me has broken deep down and said, he is going.... he is fading away.... and I fought and fought that feeling and those words till I had no strength left, like it was my strength that kept him going, and now something deep down has let go...

Oh ignore me. I'm potty. I wish I could be normal.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Scooter the brave

I finally cleared up the conservatory, turned out two black bags of rubbish, re-filed stuff, discovered a duvet and pillow to wash and found a desk underneath it all. Hurray! A desk in the brightest room! A place to read, sip tea, crochet, create, in daylight............ er no, cos then Scooter found it. One folded quilt later and....

I took this one a few minutes later. He is enjoying the sun on his face. Look closely; I'm sure that's a wee smile there:

Like I said last time, there are times when he makes my heart go ahhhhhh......

This evening, on my return from taking Mum out for a few hours, he seemed odd. Not quite right. Mum was making a fuss of him, still there on the table, and I don't know what it was, but he didn't seem quite right.

Next Luvbug was helping get the washing in from the garden. I was looking at Scooter and thought he was falling off the table, so I ran indoors.

Scooter wouldn't be helped or hugged, instead he jumped down to the floor and, walking on his haunches, proceeded to sniff out a trail on a floor. He worked like a bloodhound, not lifting his head, just constantly sniffing as he went along, through and out of that room, then into and all round the next, obstacles either being ignored, whereupon he just marched on the spot, or climbed over under or through. He went through the living room, all round the edges while we moved stuff out of his way, then around the kitchen, to the back door, then back, round in circles.....

At first we sort of laughed, nervously, hoping that what had happened is that the catarrh had suddenly gone and now he was enjoying sniffing smells for the first time in ages! But I wasn't so sure. It was like he was having a manic episode.

At one point he circled my legs and did a tiny 'mow' as though to ask for help, so I lifted him up (I'd tried before but he'd wrestled me away) and held him for quite a while, whilst Mum and Luvbug talked quietly to him. He settled, relaxed, half closed his eyes after a while.. finally he was calm. Mum and I sat with him and stroked him and encouraged him to just rest. Then he was off, jumping down and over to one of his best stretching out spots. His eyes were meeting mine at last, so I felt he was back to normal.

When Scoot had a seizure a few months ago, they said it was really important to get him to eat, as seizures make the blood sugar drop. So I put a sachet of his favourite mushy smelly goodness in front of him and he ate nearly all of it.

He's now back to the quilt on top of the desk, stretched out. I keep checking on him.

Any cat people out there with any advice?

I think this was a funny turn, aka, a seizure. I wonder if this is it now, seizures on a downward slope. Maybe it isn't cataarh, maybe it's a tumour. The vet did hint at checking for this if the meds didn't work, trouble is, it owuld mean knocking Scooter out, and at 18 1/2 yrs old, that isn't advisable.

I've a had cry in the loo. And I'm sipping a brandy.

My poor cub.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

More crochet....& update on Scooter

Scooter's latest favourite sleepy place is by the conservatory door. He is lying on- a pillow, a folded fleece cover, followed by a memory foam cushion and a furry underblanket. I said to Luvbug, it's like that story, The Princess And The Pea. He suggested I put a cat biscuit at the bottom and see if Scoot can feel it.

He loves the conservatory because he can feel out and in at the same time, and cats like that.

I've invested in a Vicks Steam Vaporizer. You fill it with water, plug it in, and soon you have a steady stream of steam to humidify the room. I've switched it on in 'his' room. I'm surprised at how it heats the room up! I don't know if it will help his catarrh, but I can always use it when I next get asthma-ry myself :)

Over the weekend Scooter got so much better. We were all saying how amazed we were at such a recovery! Then on Sunday night, soon after I gave him his night dose of anti-biotic, he suddenly got worse, wheezing and snorting with every breath, unable to settle or eat. I stayed up with him till 3am. Eventually I got him to rest by continually stroking and gently pushing into the area under his chin/back of his throat. When I did this the snorting stopped. After 15 minutes or so I was able to remove my hand without the noise returning and so my poor cub got to sleep at last.

8am I was up, and the noise in his throat was back. It didn't calm down till the afternoon. I rang the vet, desperate to know how on earth he could have gone backwards like this. He said that maybe the anti-biotic had just 'loosened a big piece of horrableness' and now Scooter was having to deal with it, uable to cough it out or spit like we would. So on his advice I continued with the medicine.

He still isn't 100%. But he is eating and likes being stroked. Still a bit noisy and sniffy. The decongestant is a real help, I think. I didn't even know cats could have these and wonder why he was never given them before.

Right now he is out in the October sun. I've put one of his covers on the outdoor table and he has used the chairs as steps and got up there and stretched out. He makes my heart go "Ahhhhh...."

*** *** *** *** *** *** *** ***
Here is a bit of felting. I crocheted this bag in wool and then threw it in the washing machine with some towels and hit 'hot as you like'. It shrank, and while still wet I pulled it into shape, filled it with bubble wrap and left it to dry.

Next, I used old skirt material to line it, added a piece of ribbon label inside, and a magnetic clasp.

I covered the clasp with a square of the skirt material and sewed on small buttons (because I didn't have a single one big enough!)

The local fabric/wool shop had a competition to make a bag or a cushion, so I entered it. I knew it wouldn't win but I just wanted to see it with all the others. That was good!

I'm enjoying learning to crochet but have to pace myself and stop as soon as my finger joints hurt. I still can't do a circle. That's my next challenge: I've found a pattern for a lovely round cushion cover.....

Friday, 7 October 2011

First in a series of catch-ups, or at least, that's what I plan!

Meet Caroline.
Or to be precise, meet Caroline meeting Bob and Dilly!

Caroline and I met at St Thomas More's Primary School in the mid 70s. We were great friends, despite her being a year below me, meaning different peer groups and clubs etc. And of course, me leaving for secondary school before her.

After I'd left we kept in touch as penpals. Nowadays I suppose kids would swap mobile phone numbers and text each other. Exchange messages on Facebook? But I wonder if these methods will produce a correspondence that will stand the test of time. Writing letters was fun. Getting post was exciting. And tangible letters written on best paper were kept, whereas modern messages are deleted.

Well despite keeping in touch all these years, the last time we'd actually met was 1996! I sent her something for her birthday last month, and she wrote back to say that she was coming to my area for a conference- and couldwe meet for lunch? My instant response was panic, panic, panic. But here is the advantage of the faster paced correspondence- a text response was called for, and delay would send a message of coolness, would it not? So I said yes, and worried about it afterwards.

There was nothing to worry about, of course, I just get sooooo nervous. I'm always convinced that people will only like me while they're not meeting me.

We had about 2 hours before she had to go. The weather was amazing and we ate outside among the trees in the garden of an art cafe. Lots of laughter!

I do hope we meet up again soon. We can't possibly leave it 15 years again- I'll be 58!!

Here's what I sent Caroline for her birthday.
I've been teaching myself crochet since June/July.
Still can't do circles.
But I can do even squares at last.
I lined this little purse with fabric from a dress I bought in Peacocks for £2 (good way to get nice material, I have learned!)
The button was from a bag of vintage buttons bought at a fair, about a dozen for £2.50.

I am enjoying getting into crochet and rummaging for vintagey fabric.

This purse is made with bamboo yarn, so is really soft. I've also done some in wool, then felted them. I hope to do more updates and show you some!

Thank you all for your purrs and purrayers for Scooter. I managed to get his medicine down him today, his snuffles and snorts seem less, and quieter, or maybe I just hopeful. He has slept most of the day away, and hasn't eaten much. Though he did enjoy joining in with our fish 'n' chips this evening!